How small businesses can use social media to pivot in 2021

With the Jamaican economy contracting by 9.4 per cent in the December quarter of last year, small businesses need to stay afloat.

While most small businesses are attempting to limit their interaction with the customer, because COVID-19 is known to be spread by direct contact, social media has become critical to marketing in the pandemic.

Kesi Gardner, the chief storyteller of The Storyteller Agency. Co, which consults medium to small businesses operating as a collective of creatives that focus on food, travel, and lifestyle, specialising in creating robust, integrated campaigns to help brands stand out above the noise.

“Our ethos is rooted in brand storytelling. Storytelling when used correctly, is a powerful business tool and skill that every business building a powerful and long-lasting brand should aim to master,” she says.

Gardner who has over 20 years experience working in marketing and advertising, has a blog,  www.kesigardner.com, that has been hailed as one of the top 200 marketing blogs on the web by FeedSpot.

Here are some tips, she suggests medium to small businesses can use to boost their visibility online with a limited budget:

Use the art of storytelling

Use storytelling to bridge the gap between brand and consumer. According to NPR, “When you listen to a story, your brain waves actually start to synchronise with those of the storyteller. And reading a narrative activates brain regions involved in deciphering or imagining a person’s motives and perspective, research has found.”

“Telling stories about what inspired you to start your company really resonates with people and personal branding is becoming more and more important as people need to feel connected,” she says.

Use the original content

Using original content is key to building customer loyalty. According to Google, the world’s biggest search engine, takes notice of original content and takes it in as a factor for contributing to a website’s credibility, which increases its likelihood of ranking higher in search engine results for the keyword involved in the text. 

“If you want to be seen, you need original, relevant content. Jamaican photographers are making some interesting content these days, but if you can’t afford one, don’t hesitate to use your smartphone,” she says.

Use free photo-editing apps

Once you’ve taken the photos in the most natural light possible, you can edit with free photo-editing apps downloaded from the Apple or Google Play store. Some suggestions include Snapseed, Lightroom, VSCO, Adobe Photoshop Express, and Lightroom.

You can use royalty-free stock images

If you can’t afford original content, Kesi recommends using some royalty-free stock image sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay. Check the site’s privacy policy, which will cite if permission is given to use without credit.

Invest in influencer marketing

 According to Harvard Business Review: “The allocation of marketing budgets towards influencers is on the rise, up to 7.5 per cent from 6.5 per cent a year ago and expected to rise to 12.7 per cent in the next three years.

“As online traffic continues to increase, it will be critical for brands to identify the right influencers to attract target customers and identify growth segments.

“It will also be important for social media managers to invest in influencer training and relationship building. Influencers are a great way to build trust and authentic relationships with followers, who may end up being paying customers. Scheduling individual and group touchpoints with influencers to discuss product updates and gain feedback on trends they are observing will go a long way toward fostering a mutually beneficial partnership.” 

Says Gardner: “Influencer marketing is still very new to Jamaica but we are seeing more culturally diverse creators talking about  topics such as travel, fashion and food. I’m interested to see other kinds of influencers come to the fore in other industries like technology, the environment, business and even medicine.”

Guest Post: 10 Reasons Why Affiliate Campaigns Fail: The Common Mistakes

Affiliate marketing has been a popular source of income online for almost 20 years.

However, many influencers and bloggers have come to disregard affiliate campaigns as they are paid more on a paid post basis.

Let’s explore the many reasons why affiliate campaigns fail and the mistakes often made by influencers, content creators and bloggers when trying to craft them.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”

Theodore Roosevelt

Before we dive into the strategies and techniques required for affiliate success, the first step all successful affiliates take is analysing and evaluating themselves, their “show” (blog, vlog, social accounts, etc.) and their audience.

Mistake #1: Not checking in with yourself

This is often overlooked by people because they think, “I know why I’m here, I don’t need to remind myself.”

Don’t make this mistake!

Without first understanding who you are, what’s unique about you, what your niche is, what your sub-niches are and what makes you attractive as a character it is likely you’ll miss a key reason as to why your audience will purchase through you.  

What you need to realise is your show is your business and your audience are your customers. Every business needs to tailor its message, branding and offerings to their existing or dream customers.

Your audience follow you because they respect your opinion when it comes to a particular niche. So, really understanding what your niche is and why they respect you is the key.

(Keep your eyes peeled for a future post on actionable ways to do this ‘check in’)

Mistake #2:  Not paying close attention to website tracking

Once you’ve checked in with yourself, it’s time to take a look at the vehicle you are taking your customers on the journey with…

Website/social media tracking is where you can build a clearer picture of what currently works and what doesn’t.

If you don’t take advantage of the tools out there to properly track the successes and failures of your site then you are much less likely to succeed with your affiliate endeavors.

Valuable insights such as what your top performing posts are, what days are best to post on, what time is best to post and frequency of posts can all contribute to better affiliate success.

Mistake #3: Not taking the time to get to know your audience

Through a combination of knowing your niche, what attracts people to you and what is working on your site, you can build valuable insights about your audience.

The game of knowing your audience is perhaps the most important aspect of affiliate campaigns as you are directly persuading people to purchase products through your links.

You wouldn’t start a restaurant in your local area without first finding out what people would like to eat…

The same applies for affiliate campaigns, you need to be totally in sync with what your audiences’ problems/desires are, find the solution and give it to them.

One actionable way to do this is AB testing your audiences responsiveness to different product categories, brands and timings/frequencies of posting; there’s a ton of valuable insights to be gained from this.

I hope this has cleared up why overlooking the evaluation of yourself and your show can easily result in very poor affiliate results.

Mistake #4: Forgetting Previous Campaign Insights

Continuing this theme of using what you’ve already got, if you’ve ever got involved with affiliate campaigns before then you already have access to valuable insights on what works and what doesn’t…

Not taking advantage of these insights is to not learn from your mistakes or your successes; here is a personalised roadmap of what works and what doesn’t – use it!

What doesn’t work should be as much of a focus as what does work, using the correct strategies alongside some that have failed in the past will lose you more sales than it gains you.


The Wrong Choices

All of the above was about using what you’ve already got to your advantage to gain valuable insights into what sparks the fire with your audience. To make the most of these stay tuned for our upcoming “check in” post.

If you have done the above correctly then you are less likely to make other mistakes like:

Mistake #5: Choosing the wrong products

If you’ve looked at your top posts and delved into what your audience likes then you are much less likely to make a brand or product blunder.

It may be that you like a specific brand or have been offered a high commission rate by them, however this doesn’t matter unless your audience is going to relate to the brand and ultimately end up purchasing from them.

Consider asking your followers what they think of the brand, or better yet, ask which brands are their favourites and which they’d like to see you sport. They’ll appreciate you taking the time to ask and it’ll show you care what they think.

This will all help build a community and turn people into hardcore fans.

Mistake #6: Choosing Quantity over Quality

If you’ve looked into your previous affiliate efforts as well as why your audience follow you and what they expect then you’ll find the right balance between content creation and promotional content.

If you try to sell too often then you’ll lose authenticity and if you don’t sell enough then people might lose interest.

“People will continue to buy from you until you either stop selling them stuff or offend them”

Russell Brand

Believe it or not people want to buy from you, they follow you because you solve a problem for them and if you sell them things that will get them closer to their goal then they are going to WANT to buy from you.

Mistake #7: Lacking Authenticity

If you don’t stay true to yourself and stay true to what you love, people will see right through it.

Remember, they follow you for you and the problem you are solving for them, stay true to this and you’ll be good as gold.


Some other more general mistakes people often make include:

Mistake #8: Poor SEO

As has been pointed out in previous last articles, a key advantage of affiliate campaigns is they continue to provide passive income after the event.

However, poor SEO will reduce organic traffic and mean you have less “hot” (solution-searching) traffic coming in from google problem searches.

Mistake #9: Poor Site Quality

The user experience of your vehicle will directly affect the success of affiliate campaigns. If you think about this it really makes a lot of sense.

You are selling other people’s products/services to your audience; would you purchase something from a site that loads mega slowly or that is confusing to navigate?  

Mistake #10: Lack of Salesmanship behind the campaign

The art of selling and copywriting are going to dramatically affect the success of your affiliate campaigns.

An affiliate campaign involves convincing members of your audience to purchase a product or service from another brand, and so you are acting as a third-party salesperson for that company.

This means you will need to be as effective as a salesman/woman if you are to be successful.

Not taking the time to educate yourself on the strategies and techniques employed by such professionals will certainly have a negative impact on your affiliate campaigns.

Close

I hope this has piqued your interest and you are ready to learn how to create widely profitable affiliate campaigns.

Be sure to refer back to this post to help you achieve more with your next affiliate campaign!

Our next affiliate post will be the first of our ‘Affiliate Success’ series where we will take your through the steps required to create successful affiliate campaigns!

Author bio

A.K.A. Green Lantern, George Spain-Warner is a Co-founder of Kinsume, the world’s first eco-affiliate marketplace, and Author of the Exploratree Marketing Blog. Kinsume’s ethos is there’s always a win-win, which is why they’ve given their marketing platform and blog tree planting initiatives. Learn more about them and their story here.

How Influencer Marketing Can Help Save the Jamaican Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

The tourism and hospitality industry plays a major role in the Jamaican economy. Last year, tourism represented 11 percent of GDP, providing some $1.3 trillion in revenue and recognising 1.4 billion international visitors. The occurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, put an inevitable dent in profits for hotels, villas, tour guides, and other businesses dependent on the hospitality industry to thrive. With tighter restrictions on travel, and possible banning of foreigners visiting at any given time due to the spike in cases,  the Jamaican hospitality industry has to now pivot and shift marketing strategies to attract locals to stay afloat.

YouTuber Annesha Adams likes to showcase the real side of Jamaica

More than ever, staycations are being promoted and Jamaicans are being urged to “rediscover Jamaica” as a place to vacation and explore.  Yet to thrive, the Jamaican hospitality industry must find creative ways to be profitable. The onset of Covid-19 and the rise of social media, (as of January 2020, according to HootSuite’s Digital 2020 Report that cites trends, internet and social media data, the total number of Jamaicans who are active social media users is 1.3 million.) means traditional advertising needs to shift budgets to make way for  online marketing and this should  include Influencers for product mentions and endorsements. 

Embracing Influencer Marketing

An influencer from a marketing perspective is: “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.” By hoteliers embracing the local bloggers and creators they bring a unique perspective and Jamaicans follow and admire their contemporaries enjoying our beautiful island.

Bloggers and YouTubers

 A blogger by definition is a person who regularly writes material for a blog which is hosted on a website. Usually focused on a particular niche, whether that be food, travel or lifestyle. The benefit of using a blog is that it will show up in Google search unlike on Instagram which is limited in terms of search. A blog is also forever and will come up on the first or second page of  Google if SEO is used correctly.”

The Storyteller Agency. Co is looking to revoultionize the Jamaican hospitality industry

As the second most visited social media platform in Jamaica according to HootSuite’s report,  using YouTubers has a great benefit within the market. YouTubers also have their subscribers and they are very invested in their lives. Our strategy is always to look for out-of-the-box ways to showcase an attraction. In the US, brand-sponsored trips are a standard and we want to make that the norm  locally as well.

For us it’s more than just taking a pretty picture. Our approach is always robust, combining mega and micro-Influencers, local content creators, YouTubers and bloggers, to bring your brand story to life and showcase the very best of the attraction or villa/hotel. In the past year, we’ve worked with Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, Worthy Park Estate Rum Tour, Joy Spence’s Appleton Estate Rum Tour, non-profit Kingston Creative to showcase their Art Walk activities and Ministry of Culture, Gender and Sport to promote the activities for Reggae Month.

Last year for International Rum Day, Worthy Park Estate Rum Tour invited a group of 12 bloggers from Love Not Likes to visit the tour and received more than 100,000 impressions on Instagram on the commemorative day. After the visit, each blogger wrote their own review and they received over 500 reads on their blogs collectively.

To target a new local audience means a local voice is needed. Jamaicans are ready to rediscover their island, find hidden gems, and staycation in hotels and villas, but they want to learn about it from a local consumer perspective. Local bloggers can show them the way, where to find the best deals, the hidden gems, stir off the beaten path and patronize the smaller establishments who need  support the most at this time. More and more, local consumers want real-life reviews of the hotel/villa and attraction experience from the ambiance, service quality to amenities. And they want it from people they trust, many of whom are the influencers they follow on social media.

Building awareness for brands using the art of storytelling

The Storyteller Agency.Co.  has partnered with several local hotels, restaurants, villas and attractions to connect with Jamaicans through the use of Influencers and local creators in the past year. By using creators who are travel-centric and like to share their honest experiences, you can have a  deeper connection with your target audience through their eyes. These influencers share their life through the art of storytelling and  their followers are invested in those stories.

Annesha Adams received over 10,000 views and 200 comments on her hotel review of Lashings Boutique Hotels and Villas

For instance, Jamaican YouTuber Annesha Adams  (who has more than 40,000 subscribers) visited Lashings Boutique Hotel in Treasure Beach and received more than 10,000 views in 24hrs with more than 200 comments on her hotel review.  In her video, which now has more than 25,000 views,  she shares her honest opinion of the hotel, details about amenities, local fare and price range.

“Since moving back home to Jamaica from Canada two years ago, I’ve wanted to showcase the very best of the island. From the best attractions to visit in every parish to even the not so popular places, I always share with my subscribers the real life perspective of living in Jamaica. St. Elizabeth is one of my favourite parishes and I liked Lashings Boutique Hotel’s aesthetic and wanted to show my subscribers a different side of Jamaica. Not just the touristy side but the relaxed side as well.” says Annesha.

Follow Travel YouTuber Annesha Adams on IG @annesha.adams.

“We’re very happy to have partnered with The Storyteller Agency. Co and Annesha Adams,” says David Folb, owner of Lashing Boutique and Villas.  “We’ll be using them again when we have our official launch of our new Beach Club in Treasure Beach later this month.” he says. TO GET A 5% PERCENT DISCOUNT, USE PROMO CODE “ANNESHALOVES” ON LASHINGS BOUTIQUE HOTEL AND VILLA’S WEBSITE

“I’m really aware that some Jamaicans don’t like the all inclusive experience you get in the main resorts,  so I have been keen to offer something different. Our hotel and villas offer a more ‘grown up’ approach to tourism – with an authentic Jamaican  experience which doesn’t patronise or exploit. It’s also something more interesting for bloggers to write about or create videos around – beyond the standard bikini shots!”

MyRepeatOffender showcased Turtles’ Nest with this breathtaking photo

After a group of influencers curated by The Storyteller Agency. Co visited Turtles’ Nest earlier this month, the Treasure Beach villa’s Instagram followers grew by more than 500 followers in 24 hours.  Lucy Atherton, the owner, said: “We’re pretty much booked out until Christmas now, it’s been quite amazing for us. I just took a view early on in the pandemic that I would focus entirely on the Jamaican market and that using influencers was the quickest and most effective way to do this. I’m always as generous as I can be to bloggers who stay and I rarely say ‘no’ – so it’s really paid off.

 

TO GET A 10% PERCENT DISCOUNT, USE PROMO CODE “LUXURYLOVES” ON LUXURY VILLA TURTLES’ NEST

“With the help of Instagram and its influencers, Jamaicans in general are rediscovering a love for their beautiful country, at a time when it’s very difficult to travel abroad. The south coast, which has been largely ignored as a staycation option in the past, is now really benefiting from this.”

Sustaining Profitability for the Hospitality Industry in a Covid-19 world

The way the Jamaican Tourism and Hospitality industry targets local tourists must expand. Incentivizing creators to promote the local hospitality industry so that they can be encouraged to promote off-the-beaten-path villas using diverse local content creators (e.g. bloggers and YouTubers), as well as innovating online are a few ways to pivot. Using platforms like The Storyteller Agency. Co to match influencers with the target demographic to create organic-driven online and influencer campaigns, are key to surviving and finding new patrons. 

YouTuber Annesha Adams on Profiting from Passion

To launch my Creatives of the Future e-book, (to purchase, click here) I interviewed some creatives who were already monetizing their platforms because of their work on social media. One of those people is Jamaican-Canadian YouTuber Annesha Adams.

Subscribe to Annesha Adam’s YouTube Channel

What do you do for a living? I create lifestyle content on YouTube
How many followers do you have? On Instagram 5,000 and YouTube 30,000. I am currently really working on growing my Instagram following.
If you could eat any type of food (right now) what would you buy?  Jamaican Curry chicken and white rice. OH SO GOOD!
What is your dream job? My dream job is to be an entrepreneur and work in the tourism industry in Jamaica. But the rest is a secret I will share soon!
What Netflix series are you binging on?  Oh, I don’t really watch Netflix. I’ll watch a movie on it, once every 7 months.
Favourite Influencer/YouTuber of all time?  Oh this one is difficult. I have so many because I like each influencer for a specific reason. But, I really admire the influence Vybz Kartel has. It may because he has been sovereign in his field, consistent for YEARS, trendy and abnormally creative but, his willpower is impressive. He could influence anyone to do anything. He could talk about how much he loves a certain flower, and everyone would buy and love the flower as well. He could laugh a certain way and then everyone would want to laugh like him as well. It’s impressive I tell you.


How has social media helped your career?  Social media has helped me in every way possible. My career is social media! Social media connects me to brands, people from all around the world, educate me, assisted with being my own boss, live anywhere in this world and increased my income! I could go on forever.
What advice would you give others trying to make a name for themselves? No matter what field you are in and what you love, consistency will help you to grow and be successful! Consistency brings results! In addition with branding. Branding yourself through photo, video or audio creates trust and legitimacy with others. Be consistent with your branding and people will follow and share. These two things will help to make a name for yourself and for you to be sovereign in the field you are in. Oh, and everything takes time, your patience will be a reward!
What is the last thing you liked on social media? A Jamaica travel photo ️
Who is your hero? I don’t have one. Well, I would think all my heros are my black activists around this world who had fought and continue to fight for black rights.
How did you get into YouTube? I got into YouTube a few years ago after noticing people could profit from their passions. It inspired me to do the same!
Where do you see your career going in the next few years? I see my brand growing, evolving and being successful.
What inspires you to create? Life. things that happen in everyday life, people and scenery. The things I do on a daily inspire me to come up with helpful YouTube videos. The stories my friends, family and I share amongst each other and the daily life experiences learnt helps me to create content to share on YouTube! For photos, my inspiration is scenery. While I’m driving or walking, I’m always looking at the scenery around me. I get inspired by seeing ‘pretty’ scenery which then inspires me to plan a photoshoot there. Also, I get inspiration from other people on YouTube and Instagram, seeing other people’s consistency, creative and beautiful work continues to drive me to consistently work smart, learn more about the fields I’m in and grow!

“I really admire the influence Vybz Kartel has. It may because he has been sovereign in his field, consistent for YEARS, trendy and abnormally creative but, his willpower is impressive. He could influence anyone to do anything.”

Ever since she could remember, Jamaica has held an important part of her life. Being introduced to such a distinct, vibrant, creative and confident culture and people, made her fall in love, and she never looked elsewhere. Being Jamaican is definitely an experience she would not change for the world. She considers Jamaica, the land of wood, water and wellness because of the calming spaces like the countryside and the beach.

Originally from Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, born September 9th, 1996, Annesha comes from a big family of seven sisters and one brother all from the same parents. She was first introduced to the island by her proud Jamaican parents who raised her, authentic Jamaican cuisine, non-stop dancehall and reggae music playing and vibes! Although, she is Jamaican through descent, being a part of the culture has been one thing she grew up being aware of. She now lives and resides in Mandeville and makes a living as a YouTuber, vlogging about everything from the best places to visit to how-tos and hair tutorials.

Annesha was nominated as one of Bashy’s YouTubers to watch in 2020.

Girl Boss Sue-Tanya McHorgh: From losing her job to Online Entrepreneur

Sue-Tanya hopes to inspire her generation to build their own online businesses. Photo Credit: Rockstaar

What is your dream job? 

To launch my Creatives of the Future e-book, (to purchase, click here) I interviewed some creatives who were already monetizing their platforms because of their work on social media. One of those people is website Designer and Blogger, Sue-Tanya Mchorgh.

  1. What is your dream job? My current job is my dream job. The ability to create and earn from something I am passionate about is a dream come true for me . A lot of people are unhappy in their jobs. Not me. I love my job. 

2. What Netflix series are you binging on? Blacklist

3. Favourite Influencer/YouTuber of all time? @Jadedarmawngsa

4. How has social media helped your career? My social media has helped me with advertising and getting targeted leads for my businesses.

5. What advice would you give others trying to make a name for themselves? Stay focused, have a game plan, a small circle of friends, get a mentor and follow your gut.  

6.What is the last thing you liked on social media? Cat videos. I am obsessed with them.

7. Who is your hero?  My mom. She did an amazing job raising me.

8. How did you get into blogging?  I started blogging because I wanted an outlet to share my travel and entrepreneurial experiences. 

9. Where do you see your career going in the next few years? I hope to perfect my current offerings, expand my businesses, hire employees and venture into coaching small business owners. 

10.What inspires you to create? My customers and my competitors. I love seeing my customers happy. They encourage me to create and improve on my skills. So does the competition. 

By the age of 17, Sue-Tanya Mchorgh knew she wanted to become an entrepreneur. She decided to study Business Administration but due to financial restraints, had to get a job and work overtime to pay tuition.

Juggling a 9-5 while going to school was hard work. Then she got laid off and didn’t have money to finish her studies. Thankfully, she was introduced to the world of working online as a virtual assistant and web designer. A virtual assistant, by definition, is an independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients while operating outside of the client’s office.

Today, she remotely helps clients with everything from social media, story and article writing, video editing, branding, and web design all from her home office.

Since she started in 2017, her client list has grown to include government institutions, realtors and even personal brands. She also owns an online fashion boutique called Suety’s Boutique where she sells her favorite fast-fashion finds.

Sue-Tanya modeled with Those Creative People for the launch of their Color Collection

Sue-Tanya considers herself a girl boss, which is basically a confident, capable woman who pursues her own ambitions instead of settling in life and hopes to inspire her generation through her motivational Instagram account @motivatedbysue.

Today, she’s also been able to live life on her terms by monetizing her social media platforms and carving out a niche as a content creator and blogger. On her website, www.suetanyamchorgh, she shares her opinion about everything from business to fashion. She’s worked with brands like Those Creative People, Kingston Creative, Jamaica Observer’s Take Style Out  and the Ministry of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sport highlighting the 2020 Reggae Month activities.

She wants to help entrepreneurs and small businesses create their e-commerce sites, branding kits and social media content. She also teaches others how to become a virtual assistant.

Girl Boss Sue-Tanya is a web designer, brand specialist, and lifestyle blogger. She’s worked with brands like CPJ, Kingston Industrial Garage, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Those Creative People and others. You can learn about Sue-Tanya at www.suetanyamchorgh.com

Kristia Franklin: Stylist Capitalizing on the TikTok wave, #DontRushChallenge

Stylist Kristia Franklin aka MyRepeatOffender uses her personal brand to attract business and brand partnerships.

To launch my Creatives of the Future e-book, (to purchase, click here) I interviewed some creatives who were already monetizing their platforms because of their work on social media. 

  1. What do you do for a living? Owner of @tiaclothesgirl, an online store and a stylist. 
  2. How many followers do you have? 8497 followers
  3. If you could eat any type of food (right now) what would you buy?  Several! Green Thai Curry shrimp from Tamarind, pasta from South Ave Grill, Avocado Spring roll and fried ice cream.
  4. What is your dream job? My dream job is what I’m doing now but on a larger scale and with more free time to travel for luxury and philanthropic opportunities. 
  5. What Netflix series are you binging on? Just finished Ozark.
  6. Favourite Influencer/YouTuber of all time?  I don’t have one to be honest. Just several I like for different reasons. 
  7. How has social media helped your career?  It started my career actually. Instagram has made tiaclothesgirl possible and it has also made my personal brand possible as well. 
  8. What advice would you give others trying to make a name for themselves? Just be true to yourself. Show people the real you. 
  9. What is the last thing you liked on social media? A pic of a bad ass outfit. 
  10. Who is your hero? Jesus Christ
My Repeat Offender’s before look for the #DontRushChallenge where she uses the makeup brush as a metaphor to transform her look.

A sudden wave of challenges have started during this whole COVID-19 pandemic, as more people are flooding to TikTok, the leading destination for short-form mobile video—which now boasts over 800 million users worldwide. TikTok is an app for making and sharing short videos. The videos are tall, not square, like  Snapchat or Instagram’s stories, but you navigate through videos by scrolling up and down, like a feed, not by tapping or swiping side to side.

Creators have access to several filters and editing features. Challenges are quite popular but one causing a stir is the #DontRushChallenge.Various iterations of the #DontRushChallenge include different songs that feature moms,health workers, men, makeup artists, and different nationalities.

My Repeat Offender’s shows you can dress up even if you’re at home

The #DontRushChallenge is a scenario where creators transform from homely to glam to the popular song, Don’t Rush by U.K. rap duo,  Young T and Bugsy while “passing along” a makeup brush used as a metaphorical baton.

Stylist Kristia Franklin, otherwise known as @MyRepeatOffender on Instagram has joined the many other creators in the  #DontRushChallenge by participating in not one, but two of these challenges.

Follow MyRepeatOffender on TikTok

She has collaborated with other creators @cocoislandgal @_ashleycarla, @leighnic, @iam_brandii, @jobyjaymusic, @piavonique, @ruthxrobby, @ashleysaige, @mynamesdora_ , @daanielle.xo, @suebie__, @a.swappstyle, @jenequep. They chose to do the final video to a song produced by @toniochromatic that went viral on social media.

The other #DontRushChallenge she created with her high school friends, which also went viral.

“This #DontRushChallenge has allowed me to collab with other creators,  and keep a connection to my followers. I’m used to getting dressed up and going out and since we’re on curfew due to COVID-19, this is my way of still having that outlet.  I love playing with makeup, getting dressed up and showing different looks, so the challenge was just a fun way of doing that!” she said.

Many creators are doing this, by recording and sharing their videos via WhatsApp, compiling and editing them in TikTok, which has features to make the 26-second video seamless.

Just like any other fashion-focused creator, Kristia has capitalized on this trend by posting her style looks, many of which she recommends to her clients.

Since COVID-19 lockdown, her usual brand partnerships have been on hiatus but this hasn’t stopped Kristia from keeping relevant in the space. 

Kristia doesn’t have 100,000 instagram followers, nor does she own a blog or YouTube channel and yet she’s been able to monetize her social media platform. How does Kristia manage to do this?

Franklin, who was crowned Campari Pop Style’s Most Stylish Female after an island-wide search in 2017, has always been a solo-preneur. She joins a generation of creatives who make more money living their dream than working at a job to survive.

Even as a child Franklin knew that she wanted to be an entrepreneur, “One day we were going to Portmore and I told my mother I wanted ice cream and she told me if I sold one shirt I would get it. I sold three, and from there I knew I wanted to be in sales.” she said.

After attending the University of Technology (UTech) Jamaica, Kristia started selling fast fashion clothing she bought on her travels through her website. Using social media to drive traffic to her website, Kristia would use models to create fashion editorial style photos.

“This created a lot of buzz and my following grew,” Kristia said. However, Kristia also used her personal brand as well by posting three different ways to wear an outfit, hence her Instagram name, My Repeat Offender.

By creating eye-catching, brightly colored, edgy looks, Kristia has drawn the attention of many, with clients ranging from party-goers to businesswomen. She’s worked with Miss Jamaica Universe 2014 and model Kaci Fennel, model and marketer Jeneque Pinnock and publicist and former television producer Alison Moss-Solomon to name a few.

Kristia is known for creating a memorable look that will have photographers begging to capture as soon as they arrive to the event.

She’s also been able to monetize with her social media platform by establishing partnerships with local brands. Working with these companies have allowed her a lot of creative freedom, as most brands want a message that feels natural and seamless.

She does this by creating posting photos of herself in exotic locations both in Jamaica and internationally. This garners many likes and a lot of engagement. “It is my online picture book which allows me to capture the essence of my trips whether I’m on vacation in Bali or taking a road trip to the North Coast.” she says.

Kristia continues to think of ways of keeping her brand relevant during this time by sharing her passion for fashion.

The COVID-19 Playlist: Reggae and Dancehall Songs for the apocalypse

With folks self-quarantining and social-distancing — and all live music entertainment shut down — I’m putting together a stay-at-home soundtrack for the viral apocalypse until Protoje and the crew buss a livestream on us.

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Serious times: Gyptian

Untold Stories: Buju Banton

Justice: Sevana

Guide Over us: Sizzla Kalonji

Any Weather: Vybz Kartel

W: Koffee

Hol a Fresh: Red Dragon

Popcaan: Firm and Strong

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I Can: Chronixx

Fresh & Clean: Jazz Elise

Babylon: Jane MacGizmo

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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I trust and the income goes to keeping the site up and running.

Beat Street & Dennis Brown Tribute Concert : The Death of Vinyl and the Evolution of Reggae Music

I took the shuttle from Spanish Court Hotel down to Orange Street, Downtown Kingston, otherwise known as “Beat Street” which runs north from the corner of Parade, last Sunday, February 23rd for one of Kingston Creative’s activities in partnership with Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sports, the Kingston and  St Andrew Municipal Corporation to commemorate Reggae Month.

According to Lonely Planet.com “It’s one of the great wellsprings of Jamaican music and was home to Sir Coxsone Dodd’s legendary Studio One Records, as well as the original studios of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Prince Buster’s famous Record Shack.”

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From 1950s to early 70s, ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dub exploded and became a worldwide phenomenon. Record shops and studios monopolized the street and surrounding areas. Beat Street has become an important historical zone that deserves to be preserved and redeveloped as a reggae historical and economic zone. 

We walked along the street and it reminded me of my days of living in New York, where they’d have the street festivals with art, food and music. Vendors were selling roast corn, chicken soup, ital stew,  roots tonic and beer while murals lined both sides.

The music filled the streets as sound systems, Soultone and Shanghai, played music of the three producers, Clement “Coxson” Dodd, Cecil “Prince Buster” Campbell, and Lee “Scratch” Perry and that of Dennis Brown, who lived at “Big Yard” located at 135 Orange Street. 

This one yah name “inside the Rockers International”

 As we walked, I met Clive Randy Chin, who sat on the corner with a friend. He told me that his father’s studio  and record shop called Randy’s Group on North Parade was being honored as a musical heritage site.

Clive Randy Chin on Beat Street last Sunday celebrating his Dad’s shop being honored as a musical heritage site
at North Parade

He told me that Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Toots and The Maytals,  Dennis Brown, Lord Fraser and even the Peptones all recorded at his father’s studio on North Parade.

Most record shops haven’t survived the death of vinyl or cds for that matter but he made it clear that he’s still producing music but without the overheads—in his home studio.

The Death of Vinyl

So vinyl records ruled that era but as the years went on analog audio recordings degraded the quality of the music as vinyl records and cassette tapes don’t age very well. Did you ever notice when you played a cassette tape over and over again, it affected the sound quality?  If you like to collect vinyl records, here’s a classic by the Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown, shop here

Nowadays, digital audio recordings are consistently the same sound quality because you can play and copy them endlessly, and they will maintain their original quality forever—unless you manipulate the file, of course.

 I had no prior knowledge of Beat Street or its connection to cultivating reggae and dancehall music until I walked into Trevor “Leggo” Douglas’s recording studio, aka LeggoBeast.

His close relative named, “Q”, sat at the sound machines and answered questions about the history of the studio, how it came to be and where it’s going.

We asked, who had recorded there, to which Q answered, “The better question to ask is, who hasn’t?”

Murals lined the walls of Beat Street. From Sean Paul to Big Youth, Beat Street has seen them all.

Trevor “Leggo” Douglas explained, that every great reggae artist had recorded there from Shaggy to Dennis Brown, with the exception of Bob Marley.

Leggo explained his journey to becoming the owner of the studio, from collecting bottles at dances at 13 to make pocket change, to making cassettes and then migrating to New York to run a robot taxi in order to make enough money to buy the studio equipment and ship them back home.

He then  took us to “Big Yard”, the official childhood home of Dennis Brown. In ruin, however around the back was a small room where people who knew him well lived. Dennis Brown was known for taking care of everyone in the community. They are trying to raise money to make it a museum.

Rockers International is the only surviving vinyl record shop in Jamaica.
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We then walked into Rockers International which is the only surviving vinyl record shop in Jamaica. It reminded me of the shops they used to have in HWT, that my brother used to visit on his trips home from Denmark. He would buy the latest records for his sounds system he and his friends ran.

We finished the day at Randy’s Music Group on North Parade where Randy showed all the old equipment that was gathering dust. Old posters decorated the walls and I found a Magnum Tonic Wine calendar from 2015, I had conceptualized with dancehall artist Stacious posing as an Amazonian woman with a bike man underneath, staring up at her.

Dennis Brown Tribute Concert

I headed back downtown in the evening at the Waterfront where Kristia aka @myrepeatoffender was doing an IG takeover on Reggae Month’s page.

Purchase a memorabilia Dennis Brown T-shirt here

Freddie McGregor, Julian Marley, Richie Stephens and so many other amazing artists came down to tribute Dennis Brown’s birthday.

What a great way to end Reggae Month. Can’t wait until next year!

7th Annual Jamaica Music Conference: Traditional vs. New Media

Photo Credit: William Richards

I was invited to be a panelist at the 7th Annual Jamaica Music Conference to discuss the social and Emerging Media for the future of reggae and dancehall music. I was invited because we are currently running an influencer campaign for the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport’s Reggae Month’s activities, highlighting some of the great cultural activities and special events on the schedule.

The panelists were on the new media side: Ari Hammond and Naro Hart, Hosts, of The Fix Podcast on YouTube and representatives of traditional media: Ellen Khoelings and Pete Lilly from the popular German-based reggae magazine, Riddim Magazine. And me, the Founder of Love Not Likes, a blogger/influencer network. Although Love Not Likes is fairly new, I’ve been working in marketing and communications for over a decade and so I’m familiar with both mediums.

Photo Credit: William Richards

It was a great opportunity for me to show that they are also different kinds of non-traditional media platforms like CaribVoxx, KingstonCityLife, Haute People and LuxuryJa, dedicated to creating great local content that can also connect with the Diaspora.

Watch part of the discussion on OnStage’s YouTube channel.

Correction: YouTube is number two, not number the number one social media channel.

ABOUT JAMAICA MUSIC CONFERENCE

This is a sponsored post by The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport for Reggae Month. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.


Jamaica Music Conference is the preeminent music conference that connects music artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs globally with the who’s who in the Jamaica music industry. Now in its 7th staging, the JMC provides an opportunity for independent music professionals to network and collaborate with industry peers, seasoned professionals and creatives, showcase emerging talent,and learn best practices and gain insights into the ever-changing business of music, through relevant panel discussions and interactive workshops.

How to Be an Influencer/Blogger

Fashion and beauty are popular industries to capitalize on

On Valentine’s Day, February 14th, I was specially invited by the Ministry of Education, Heart/ NTA and Kingston Creative to present on the career paths of a social media influencer and blogger to a group of children from ages 11-17 year olds, grades 7 to nine at the Creative and Cultural Expo at the Institute of Jamaica. Children from as far as St. Elizabeth came for the presentation, and it was a pleasure to have a discussion about the career paths in the digital space. The entire day was dedicated to to Creative Economy Careers! Podcasting, game development and animation were the other career paths presented and it was insightful to see how each presenter received feedback from the audience.

Every speaking engagement I do, I always tailor the presentation to the audience. (You can download the link below) These were young, bright students from all over the island, including as far as St. Elizabeth. They were responsive and eager to hear the different options available to them. I explained that their interests don’t have to be narrowed to comedy, fashion and beauty like most of the popular influencers. They can be influencers in finance, culinary arts, the environment, the topics are endless. I also wanted to make sure they understood the dangers of being a minor online and that they need their parent’s permission before they start.

With mobile penetration growing at the rate it is, it’s great to see that the government is looking to empower the next generation on the future of work, which is Digital.

Digital Transformation is something I’m passionate about and I feel that young people need to see what the world has to offer. More than 4.5 billion people use the internet globally and as of January 2019 in Hootsuite ‘s latest report, 1. 20 million of those are in Jamaica. I spoke about how I built my website in a day even though I failed HTML coding in college. 🤔 Now, why don’t you have a blog yet?

ABOUT KINGSTON CREATIVE

This post is brought to you by Love Not Likes partnership with Kingston Creative. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Kingston Creative is a registered nonprofit organisation that believes that Kingston is the Creative Capital of the Caribbean. More information can be found at www.kingstoncreative.org.  The NGO is developing an Art District and Creative Hub in Downtown Kingston, Jamaica in partnership with the following “First 50” Sponsors.